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SCSU candidate profiles: Vice President Equity

Nadifa Mohamed (WENITED), Kanitha Uthayakumar (VISION UTSC)
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Left to right: VISION UTSC’s Nadfia Mohamed, WENITED’s Kanitha Uthayakumar.courtesy of VISION UTSC and WENITED
Left to right: VISION UTSC’s Nadfia Mohamed, WENITED’s Kanitha Uthayakumar.courtesy of VISION UTSC and WENITED

Nadifa Mohamed (WENITED)

Nadifa Mohamed is a fourth-year psychology and health studies student running for the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union’s (SCSU) vice-president equity position as part of the WENITED slate. To her, the position is one of community building — particularly for students who are part of marginalized communities. To address this, her campaign will focus on funding and accessibility. If elected, Mohamed hopes to implement grants for marginalized students, and to host monthly events with the goal of fostering a more cohesive community.

“I don’t want to create things for people without their consultation, without them knowing,” Mohamed said in an interview with The Varsity, outlining her campaign vision of a more inclusive SCSU.

Mohamed speaks from experience, as she currently serves as President of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society Students’ Association at UTSC, an organization that she has been a part of for three years. She also talked about her experiences with community outreach events for young women of colour and artists, which Mohamed said have built up her skills for handling the logistics of events.

“[Universities and institutions] are so individualistic, and I think we need a narrative change — that we need each other to do things, that we need each other when it comes to mental health and all these kinds of things,” Mohamed emphasized.

In terms of concrete policy goals, Mohamed hopes to increase accessibility to counselling services, create working groups to identify Islamophobia and racism on campus, and other equity initiatives.

Kanitha Uthayakumar (VISION UTSC)

Kanitha Uthayakumar is a fourth-year health studies and political science student who is running for the SCSU’s vice-president equity position under the VISION UTSC slate. Uthayakumar immigrated to Canada when she was 12 after fleeing Sri Lanka in the midst of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Her prior experience includes being the president of the UTSC Tamil Students’ Association and a co-founder of Manidhi UTSC, a non-profit organization that advocates for the “social and political emancipation of women” in the South Asian community.

She is running to be the next vice-president equity because she wants “to remove the barriers that students are facing on and off campus.”

Uthayakumar has six key goals that she would address if elected. She plans to host biweekly events that would provide free breakfasts and lunch services, and “advocate for more diverse course content that covers issues related, but not limited to, race, gender, sexuality and religion.”

Her plans for Governing Council and lobbying university administration include tackling Health and Wellness funding and wait times, better budgets for the Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre, and incorporating Indigenous knowledge into curricula through the hiring of Indigenous leaders. She also plans to host educational workshops on a variety of equity-related matters.

In a written statement to The Underground,  UTSC’s student paper, Uthayakumar remarked that “UTSC shaped me into the person that I am today by providing a variety of leadership opportunities.” In return, she wants to give back to this community by ensuring that it is a safe and inclusive campus for everyone to enjoy.

Uthayakumar did not respond to The Varsity’s request for comment at the time of publication.